From luxury treats for Santa to delicious New Year's Eve cocktails
From luxury treats for Santa to delicious New Year’s Eve cocktails… Delivery boxes that mean you can host EVERY festive occasion —without lifting a finger
- Creating endless snacks and festive meals over Christmas can be exhausting
- Alice Smellie has found a way to save time and energy with delivery boxes
- With everything from the British breakfast to Boxing Day curry, the UK-based writer rates these new lifesavers from the likes of Rick Stein and Aktar at home
- Read more: The 12 best subscription boxes to give as presents this Christmas
Succulent turkey, roasties, lashings of gravy …few of us would dream of outsourcing our Christmas dinner. But rustling up endless meals and snacks over the rest of the festive season can be exhausting.
Fortunately, there is now a raft of innovative food and drink delivery boxes, where all the hard work is done for you …from a luxury take on the great British breakfast to the perfect Boxing Day curry.
Alice Smellie rates the new secret lifesavers every frazzled host will want to order, taking in each day from Christmas Eve through to New Year’s Day lunch…
Alice Smellie (pictured) has found a way to save time and energy with delivery boxes. With everything from the British breakfast to Boxing Day curry, the UK-based writer rates these new lifesavers from the likes of Rick Stein and Aktar at home
TREATS FOR SANTA ON CHRISTMAS EVE
The Night Before Christmas Gift Set, £39.95, impandmaker.co.uk
Created by the founders’ six-year-old daughter, this pretty little box is all about making Christmas Eve magical. There are star-shaped mince pies, sachets of hot chocolate, marshmallows, shortbread, carrots and even Magic Reindeer Food.
LAST ORDERS: December 22 by 11.30am for December 23 arrival.
VERDICT: A sweet collation of Christmas Eve treats. The hot chocolate is delicious and the shortbread melts in the mouth. I am sad my three teenage children are too old to put out treats for Santa, but my two cocker spaniels love the carrots. 6/10
…AND FOR THE GROWN-UPS, TOO
Christmas Eve Snacking Hamper, £96.99, cutterandsquidge.com
Prefer something a little more grown-up? This hamper is packed with goodies, including butterscotch popcorn, fudge, mince pies, a ruby hot chocolate spoon plus crackers, chutney and Prosecco.
LAST ORDERS: December 23 by 4pm for Christmas Eve delivery.
VERDICT: This box is ideal for the night before the Big Day or, indeed, all those other days when all you want is telly and good fudge! 6/10
LUXURY CHRISTMAS DAY BREAKFAST
Rick Stein The Festive Breakfast Box, £89.45, shop.rickstein.com
Cook up a delicious breakfast for the family; includes sausages, black pudding, eggs, bread, butter and Rick Stein granola as well as smoked salmon and a bottle of champagne. Something for everyone basically.
LAST ORDERS: Delivery available on December 23 and 30.
VERDICT: We tend not to go large on Christmas Day breakfast, in anticipation of the feast to come. However, this selection really whet my appetite. Every component is high quality: the George Stafford black pudding has won awards and the Trewithen Dairy products are from within 25 miles of the dairy.
My sons fall on the black pudding and bacon, but I focus on the Rick Stein granola, which is like a tasty flapjack, as well as the smoked salmon — my favourite breakfast food. For those with relatives staying over Christmas, this box will satisfy guests and get your day off to a stress-free start. A glass of fizz first thing? Why not? 8/10
The Night Before Christmas Gift Set, £39.95, impandmaker.co.uk. Created by the founders’ six-year-old daughter, this pretty little box is all about making Christmas Eve magical.
PERFECT CURRY FOR BOXING DAY
Aktar At Home Mixed Curry Box, from £70, aktarathome.co.uk
Your Boxing Day curry made easy. This box contains a selection of divine curries suitable for the family, complete with pilau rice and naan bread. Plus, you get extra sachets containing the sauce.
LAST ORDERS: December 16 for delivery on December 21.
VERDICT: Eight frozen curries arrive, along with the extra sauce, pilau rice and superbly fluffy naans. They simply need defrosting and heating up. The Murgh Makhani was the best Tandoori chicken I’ve ever tasted and there’s plenty for everyone. 9/10
GRAZING CHEESEBOARD FOR THE 27TH
Bradfords Gifts Cheese and Pickle Tray, £24.95, bradfordsbakers.com
A sweet little collection of Isle of Arran Mature cheddar cheese, Granny Bradford’s Best Pickle, a Hot Tomato Chutney, award-winning water biscuits and a little iced fruit cake.
LAST ORDERS: December 20 for pre-Christmas delivery.
VERDICT: The best thing about this little collection of cheese and biscuits is the tiny Christmas cake. Nobody in our family is a big fan, so a small one — that can be eaten with a piece of cheese — is perfect. 8/10
FOR THE 28TH, DRINKS PARTY FAVOURITES
Christmas Cocktail Luxury Gift Set, £249.95, impandmaker.co.uk
This box includes 25 items: two cocktail glasses, a shaker and a strainer, a bottle of Champagne, pink gin and some little cans of tonic water. Plus a recipe book and the pre-mixed bases for Espresso and Pornstar martinis.
LAST ORDERS: December 22 by 11.30am for delivery on December 23.
VERDICT: Cocktails are enjoying a comeback and Espresso martinis are my favourite. I enjoy a full Tom Cruise moment shaking my martini and then decanting it into one of the cocktail glasses. The final effort has a lovely creamy foam which I top with a few coffee beans. 8/10
…AND CHEAT’S CANAPES
The Cookaway Canape Feasting Box by Jack Lucas, from £49 for two people (mine was £82), thecookaway.com
A box containing the ingredients to make your own delicious canapes. Mine is for four people and includes smoked salmon blinis with creme fraiche, goat’s cheese beignets and pancetta and fennel sausage rolls.
LAST ORDERS: By 4pm on December 22 for Christmas Eve delivery.
VERDICT: Hmm. Someone has done the shopping, but these do need to be assembled. The blinis and sausage rolls are straightforward. I find the beignets fiddlier. They then have to be fried, and skewered with a cube of beetroot on top. But they are sure to make people exclaim: ‘Wow, did you really make those?’ 8/10
TWIXTMAS TREATS TO SHARE ON THE 29TH
Anna Luxury Christmas Box, £109.95, thisisanna.co.uk (personalised Christmas gift box, £36.95)
This elegant box contains 24 Christmas macarons, a Gold Wreath cake, two personalised biscuits in the shape of Christmas crackers, a large bag of vanilla marshmallows and one of lovely iced gingerbread stars.
LAST ORDERS: December 19 for dispatch on December 22; next day delivery.
VERDICT: Every item is a winner. The brightly coloured macarons are an exciting range of flavours, from salted caramel or raspberry to Ferrero Rocher. My 14-year-old daughter vanished with the marshmallows. 8/10
BEAT BOREDOM ON 30TH WITH AFTERNOON TEA
Pique Yule Afternoon Tea, from £60 for two, piquefood.co.uk
Just the thing when you’re sick of all that post-Christmas lounging. Includes finger sandwiches, Scotch eggs, smoked salmon mini bagels, brownies, cardamom and orange scones.
LAST ORDERS: December 21 for delivery on December 24, nationwide.
VERDICT: Everything is ready to decant onto plates. They say this is for two but the helpings are generous; we find it’s plenty for four. 9/10
A KNOCKOUT NEW YEAR’S EVE FEAST
Dean Banks Haar at Home Deluxe Festive Feast for four, from £349.95, haarathome.co.uk
A lavish feast that includes dressed Scottish lobsters, two dressed crabs, Loch Etive seaweed cured trout, 1kg oak smoked langoustines, two 250g Wagyu sirloin steaks and 50g Exmoor Caviar as well as vegetables.
LAST ORDERS: December 29 for delivery before New Year’s Eve.
VERDICT: Initially I thought this eye-wateringly expensive, but a Wagyu steak can cost about £100 in a top London restaurant, and a lobster around £40, so in terms of value-formad-money, it’s not so bad after all!
The whole thing simply needs assembling. We eat it in awed silence. 7/10 as it’s simply too pricy for many.
NEW YEAR’S DAY HEARTY LUNCH
Cook Venison Haunch with a Sloe Gin & Blackberry Jus, £35 serves four, plus vegetables (our total was £56.25), cookfood.net
Cook has launched a range of delicious festive centrepieces, from a venison haunch to a Beef Wellington, to which you can add sides.
LAST ORDERS: They say: book a delivery now to avoid disappointment.
VERDICT: By New Year’s Day, only the most stoic feel like cooking. The venison needs defrosting in advance but all the veg can be cooked from the freezer. It’s all delicious. 9/10
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